MIAL Media Release Fixing Freight Report Misfires on Cabotage

Media Release: Immediate Release                              April 27, 2018

Fixing Freight Report Misfires on Cabotage

Infrastructure Partnerships Australia’s “Fixing Freight” report highlights many important issues that the Nation must address to grow and prosper to our full potential.  

The analysis on Coastal Shipping however, lacks depth with the drivers placed in the usual 'cabotage policies' basket.   

The report states: 

“However, Australia’s cabotage rules largely prohibit international competition – requiring instead that coastal shipping be performed by Australian registered ships – or else, operate under the permit scheme. Cabotage policies could potentially curb competition and restrict the growth of coastal shipping in Australia.” 

The idea that Australian registered ships impede international competition does not stand up to any kind of scrutiny.  Of the major Australian trading fleet, only those servicing the Bass Strait trade and three dry bulk carriers operating around the south eastern States remain Australian registered.  Foreign flagged vessels perform all other coastal trade. 

Teresa Lloyd, CEO of Maritime Industry Australia Ltd (MIAL), the country’s largest representative of maritime interests, says “the statement that cabotage polices could potentially curb competition is only too true in this country - it curbs competition in favour of foreign operators - to the point where an Australian operator doesn’t stand a chance.”   

It is time to stop pointing the finger of blame at cabotage policy – there is barely an impediment to move whatever you want whenever you want around this country,” said Ms Lloyd. 

There are Fair Work Act requirements that impose an obligation for differential wages to be paid for some voyages, but this is not cabotage policy.  

As Ms Lloyd says “we need to acknowledge that this task is almost 100% foreign now and hence, whatever is impeding growth must be something other than the almost extinct ‘Australian registered ship’.”  

Infrastructure Partnerships Australia’s “Fixing Freight” report covers important issues that the Nation must address but the first step in making progress on the greater utilisation of coastal shipping is for commentary and analysis on the issue to mature beyond the tired rhetoric about Australian ships being the problem.     

End Release.

For further information: MIAL Alison Saunders 0409 694 297

Maritime Industry Australia Ltd (MIAL) represent the collective interests of maritime businesses, primarily those operating maritime assets or facilities from Australia.  MIAL is uniquely positioned to provide dedicated maritime expertise and advice, and is driven to promote a sustainable, vibrant and competitive Australian maritime industry and to expand the Australian maritime cluster.


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